NRL star Curtis Scott has spoken publicly for the first time since his “gruesome” police arrest in January plunged his career into crisis.
Dramatic footage of Scott being tasered and doused with pepper spray by police was played in court on Thursday — the day the charges laid against him were sensationally dropped.
As first reported by NCA NewsWire, extended vision of what Scott’s lawyer claims was an “unreasonable or unlawful” arrest following boozy Australia Day celebrations underpins an application for NSW Police to pay the costs of his nine-month legal battle that total more than $100,000.
The footage included disturbing vision of officers telling Scott to relax as he writhed in agony after being pepper sprayed and tasered.
You can watch the extended footage in the video player above.
Magistrate Jennifer Giles accepted his guilty plea to other minor charges on Thursday but did not record a conviction. She told Downing Centre Local Court no punishment she handed down could match the events of his arrest.
“My client is innocent and we had to fight pretty hard and pretty long to get this decision,” Scott’s lawyer Sam Macedone said outside court.
Scott told reporters the ordeal had been a “really tough time in my life” that he was hoping to put behind him, although Mr Macedone said they would explore bringing a civil case against the police.
Scott revealed the true depths of his bitterness towards the legal matter by breaking his silence in an interview with 7News on Thursday night.
“It’s been a really long nine months for myself. I’m happy it’s finally come to an end,” he said.
“I put my whole career on the line to clear my name and that was a risk I was willing to take.
“Everybody on your back, making out that you’re some monster, a cop basher. In the back of my mind, I knew if one of these charges stuck I’d be digging holes for the rest of my life.
“In myself I’m bitter, I’m bitter that everyone kind of just took their side and did not consider my side of the story.”
He said he is not anti-police as a result of his nightmare.
It came after serious allegations of assaulting and resisting police were dropped in court on Wednesday when the first snippets of revelatory police bodycam footage showed the incident for the first time.
The Canberra Raiders outside back was intoxicated and barely conscious as he was arrested just metres from NRL headquarters in Moore Park about 2.10am on January 27.
In the extended footage played on Thursday, Scott, 22, was doused with capsicum spray and tasered after police found him sleeping peacefully on his back at the base of a fig tree.
The clearly confused footballer can be heard telling police he was “getting dressed” before changing to a repeated line of “I’ve done nothing wrong” after he was handcuffed and ordered to get to his feet.
It then shows one officer deploy his taser as Scott remains on the ground, handcuffed and moaning in pain after copping pepper spray in the face, having resisted efforts to stand him up.
“Stop otherwise you’ll be tasered,” he was warned.
Scott writhes and screams out in agony before falling silent when Senior Constable Chris Bucknell tells him: “You lash out again, I’ll f***ing taser you again.”
The footage revealed Scott was asleep when police first came across him.
They tried to rouse him by pinching his ear before handcuffing him without formally placing him under arrest.
“Don’t resist, mate,” one of the officers says as Scott lays slumped in the roots of a fig tree, his eyes closed.
“I’ve done thing wrong,” Scott says before being told he is trespassing. “I’ve done f**k all wrong.”
The extended video also showed a disturbing exchange between the NRL player and the officers.
“I’ve done nothing wrong,” Scott said.
“My eyes are f***ing killing me.”
The video shows one of the police officers responded: “Just relax, it’s just pepper spray”.
“How am I supposed to relax?,” Scott asked in reply.
“It’s not that bad,” the officer repeats.
The young rugby league star decided to leave the room on Thursday before the videos were played to the court. Mr Macedone said the “gruesome” incident had taken a big toll on Scott.
Prosecutor Sergeant Rebecca Becroft had argued against the footage being played beyond the point it was on Wednesday, which did not include Scott’s tasering, a move Mr Macedone later described as an attempt to “avoid scrutiny”.
The police case collapsed yesterday after Ms Giles described the police argument that the officers were within their rights to handcuff an unconscious man as “a very long and frightening bow”.
Sgt Becroft withdrew five charges on Wednesday, two of assaulting police, one of resisting arrest and another of indecent behaviour.
But Sgt Becroft on Thursday asked Ms Giles how else police were supposed to move on a person she claimed was “absolutely, tragically affected by drugs or alcohol”.
She said the officers could have ended up in the Coroner’s Court if they left him to continue his slumber, pondering whether Scott could have choked on his own vomit, got into a fight or fell out onto the roadway and been hit by a car.
The officers didn’t go in with “guns blazing”, she said, and gave him “ample opportunity to get up and get out of there”.
“At the time police were acting on the circumstances they were faced with,” Sgt Becroft said.
She said police were being asked to foot the bill for hundreds of dollars in costs Scott’s lawyers racked up in emails and phone calls to the NRL, Canberra coach Ricky Stuart and chief executive Don Furner.
The costs bill also included a $3300 claim for his legal team studying US websites about tasering, Sgt Becroft told the court.
Separate footage of Scott’s drunken night through the streets of Paddington before he settled to sleep in Moore Park was also played to the court.
Scott was sentenced for two counts of offensive behaviour in public, having pleaded guilty to those charges at an earlier court date. No conviction was recorded.
CCTV showed him kick and stomp on a bicycle chained to a pole on Regent St. The court heard that came before he punched the driver’s side door of a taxi and threw his mobile phone at a passing Suzuki Swift.
Mr Macedone said Scott had been drinking at the Ivy in Sydney’s CBD and had no recollection of how he got to Moore Park.
He had not drunk for five months and was mentoring the Canberra Raiders under-16 team about the impact of alcohol, the court heard.
In dismissing the charges, Ms Giles said Scott had already been punished by the intense media scrutiny surrounding the incident and stress at possibly losing his career
“You are clearly a smart person Mr Scott, you are the kind of person on whom this experience has not been wasted,” she said
“Being capsicum sprayed whilst you are handcuffed and not decontaminated for some 19-odd minutes, that’s much worse than anything I can do to you.”
Ms Giles will deliver he decision on the costs application on September 25.